First attack chopper unit being set up in Jodhpur

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New Delhi: The first squadron of indigenous Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) will be formed in Jodhpur, Rajasthan on the western border with Pakistan.

The Indian Air Force is all set to formally raise its first unit in the first week of October on the occasion of ‘Air Force Day’. Ten LCHs from the first batch from HAL will be inducted into this squadron. The Air Force is working on a plan to form a squadron for a total of 65 LCHs to be acquired.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 30, approved 15 indigenous Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) of Limited Series Production (LSP) variants at a cost of ₹3,887 crore and infrastructure worth ₹377 crore. HAL has been asked to produce five LCHs each for the Air Force and the Army under the LSP. According to the Defence Ministry, the LSP variant will have 10 helicopters for the Air Force and five for the Indian Army. There is a requirement of 65 LCH helicopters for the Air Force and 114 for the Army.

Three Light Combat Helicopters will be given to the Indian Air Force in the first batch. Under the LSP series, production of four LCHs for the Army and two for the Air Force has been completed. The remaining six LCH will be produced next year. The IAF currently operates the old Russian Mi-25 and Mi-35 attack helicopters, but one squadron has been phased out after the addition of 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to the fleet. An Air Force official said that the existing Mi-35 squadron is in the process of being sent for overhaul.

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